Lent 4C  


Mar. 31


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Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):


Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Joshua 5:9-12

Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32


Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

517 Love Divine…

53-Morning has broken

86 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

340 Softly and tenderly

343 Jesus is tenderly calling thee home

405-Beneath the forms of outward rite

426-The voice of Jesus calls his people


More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.   


Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2019, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Joshua 5:9-12


We gather round to follow near,

to honor and desire.

For by the Lords acknowledgement,

reproach is rolled away.


Indeed, in this majestic time,

when grace owns gratitude,

we celebrate as one, as love,

while life’s fulfillment reigns.


This is the time; this is the hour

when life is found entire,

when from the earth we gather free

and learn nobility.



Draw near, then, for we recognize

the savor of our God.

Set fee, redeemed and satisfied,

we clamor after joy.


CM                  Suggested tune: Martyrdom


Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin.  Where practical, these may be offered here as well.  You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/   

This week:  Psalm 32 is on page 739  


Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor.  If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention.  No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.


Call to Worship   

L: We celebrate the God of infinite power and love, who has called us into community.

P: We gather with God’s people of every age and place who have, by faith, found their true citizenship in heaven.

L: We journey together with hope, knowing that God who has fulfilled every promise in the coming of Jesus Christ will fulfill the promises of kingdom life for us and for all God’s children.

P: Thanks be to God for the faith that makes our life in Christ complete and promises life everlasting to all who believe.


OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Come, let us celebrate the forgiving, reconciling love of God.
P: For once we were lost and felt so far away; now we have been found and welcomed home.
L: Know that God’s love is lavished upon you forever.
P: We rejoice at the news of forgiveness and hope!
L: Come, let us celebrate and praise the God of Love.


OR from ministrymatters.com

L: From darkness and despair, from being lost and lonely, God calls us home.
P: Even though we have been selfish and let God down, we are still called beloved.
L: Remember the eternal love of God which has been poured out for you.
P: Our hearts rejoice at the wondrous ways in which God loves and forgives us.


Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

God of love, you have loved us first and continue to love us. We come this morning longing to love you in return. We hunger for your healing love in our lives as we long to love ourselves and our neighbors. Fill our longing hearts as we join together to worship you, through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)



O Seeking God, it is always your joy to celebrate the finding of the lost treasures in our world, but most especially the returning of lives to your home. Help us today to bring our treasures and our emptiness, our missing pieces, and our very selves into your home, so that you may celebrate with us in a rich feast of joy and reconciliation which you have prepared for us through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)



God of all glory, on this first day you began creation, bringing light out of darkness.  On this first day you began your new creation raising Jesus Christ out of the darkness of death.  On this Lord’s day grant that we, the people you create by water and the spirit, may be joined with all your works in praising you for your great glory.  Through Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, we praise you now and forever.  (praying as he taught us, “Our Father…”)


OR from ministrymatters.com

Loving God, when we wander to distant places, you watch the road to greet us when we finally come home. Whenever we are far from you, remind us that we are your beloved children, the longing of your heart, and give us the strength and courage to return to your open arms. When we have sinned against heaven and before you, forgive us, for we are coming home! Amen.


Confession of Sin

Ʀ = Lord, have mercy upon us

  • Forgive the poverty of our worship, our unbelief and hesitating witness, our blindness to what you would have us to be and to do, O God. Ʀ
  • Forgive us for imagining ourselves to be the center of the world, and for seeking security in the works of our own hands and minds, O God. Ʀ
  • Forgive us for the waste of our time and talents and gifts, and for our abuse of the earth, your creation, O God. Ʀ


  • Forgive us that so little of your love is passed through us to others, and that we have cared so little about the sufferings and injustices that they endure, O God. Ʀ
  • Forgive us by your mercy, O God, for the sins held secret in our hearts, as we open them to you in silence…


Words of Assurance

Despite our urge to pull apart, in spite of our tenacity to hold to our old ways, our loving God continues to call us back together again, showing us the true nature of forgiveness. God does not keep score of our wrongs, or measure how far we have wandered. God welcomes us, like a mother scooping up her lost children, like a father embracing his prodigal offspring. We are welcomed home, encouraged to learn from that forgiveness, to offer it to ourselves and to others again and again, as God offers it to us in Jesus Christ, our hope and our home.


Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

(from Common Worship)

In penitence and faith let us make our prayer to the Father and ask for his mercy and grace.

For your holy people, that they may triumph over evil and grow in grace, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For candidates for baptism and confirmation, that they may live by every word that proceeds from your mouth, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the leaders of the nations, that you will guide them in the ways of mercy and truth, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the needy, that they may not be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor be taken away, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the sick in body, mind and spirit, that they may know your power to heal, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the poor in spirit, that they may inherit the kingdom of heaven and see you face to face, we pray to you, O Lord: R

Let us commend the world, for which Christ suffered, to the mercy and protection of God.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.



Center us now, O God, on your presence in this place among your people, as we lift up our hearts desires, our soul’s deep needs, our hungers, fears and failures.


As we have often failed to be obedient to your will in our lives as individual disciples and as church, we pray that you will forgive us and enliven us to be and to do the gospel of Christ.  Open us to your Spirit’s urgings, and awaken us to live faithfully as your people in a changing, often hurting world.


We pray for those around us who need your care, and ask that you would make of us your instruments of healing, peace and redemption.  We pray especially for those we have named to you this day, and others we lift to you in the silence of our hearts.


Reveal your presence with them and with us, God of life, that as people of renewed faith and vitality, we may be empowered to serve your world, and so give glory to you; for we offer our prayers and our lives in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.



Loving God, you taught your disciples love for one another—love which would manifest itself in selflessness and servanthood. Hear the prayer of your people for our world and all who dwell in it.


We lift to you the nations, that they may be rebuilt in justice and in peace, and especially this nation and its leaders. Hear our prayers for the nations.


We lift to you this earth, which you so lovingly created, that as stewards of your gifts we might thankfully use its resources for the good of all. Hear our prayers for your creation.


We pray for this city and for cities and villages around us, that all might work together to strengthen and improve the lives of their citizens. Hear our prayers for the cities.


We pray for your church—both here in this faith community and around the world—that this season of Lent might be a time of renewal in faith and mission on your behalf, and that together we may learn the path of servanthood toward all humanity. Hear our prayer for your church.


We pray for ourselves and our own needs, and the needs of those around us, whose lives are closely linked with our own…   To those who are sick and sorrowful, bring your healing and hope. To the grieving, bring your peace. And to the dying bring the joy of your promise to us of eternity with you. For these and all our prayers we offer you, trusting in your goodness and your strength, in the name and spirit of Jesus the Christ.


Prayers from Common Worship*



Merciful Lord,

absolve your people from their offences,

that through your bountiful goodness

we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins

which by our frailty we have committed;

grant this, heavenly Father,

for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Post Communion


Lord God,

whose blessed Son our Saviour

gave his back to the smiters

and did not hide his face from shame:

give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time

with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Additional Collect


Merciful Lord,

you know our struggle to serve you:

when sin spoils our lives

and overshadows our hearts,

come to our aid

and turn us back to you again;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down

from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world:

Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in

him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one

God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2019, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32


As you have found us lost, O God,

as we have learned our lostness dear,

as in the moment of desire you claim

of us the coming to be found:

O God, discover us unwittingly embraced

and known, completed in your live delight

that in our lost abandon we be found

in your excessive, bountiful contentment.


Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 


Offertory / Invitation to Give

By the goodness of God, we are called into the family of the church. By God’s grace, we rejoice to share in the church’s life of mission and ministry. Let us offer our tithes and gifts to God’s glory as a token of the offering of our very lives.


OR from ministrymatters.com

Through the gifts of our possessions and our presence, we let those who are far from home know that we are their brothers and sisters. Through our gifts, we welcome them to our home, to God’s home. We are the ambassadors for Jesus, our brother and savior, spreading the news of a home of love and hope through our gifts.


Offertory Prayer

Thank you, God, for the generosity that enables us to share. We are rich in many things. Help us to empty ourselves of pretense, even as we pour out gifts of gratitude. We dedicate our offerings and ourselves to shaping the community you intend, in the spirit of Christ.


OR from ministrymatters.com

Bless these gifts, Generous God, that they may be used to find your children—children who wander in hunger, children who long to come home. Through our gifts, may all who wander set off for home, and may we celebrate and rejoice in their homecoming. Amen.


Invitation to the Table

God wants to share this meal with you—all of you who dare to let go of your defenses and your trust in self or others, and trust in God.  Let us come to God’s table with hearts of thanksgiving and trust fully in the Christ who invites us all.



Christ himself has gathered us, longing to share with us bread and wine at his table.  May these be moments which open our eyes to the mystery of God’s presence with us in the days and nights of our living.  May we be nourished by the gifts set before us so abundantly, and refreshed to live with joy and anticipation of Christ’s coming reign in our world.


Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

Adapted from the Church of Ireland

We praise you, O God, for Christ your eternal Word through whom you have created all things from the beginning and formed us in your own image. He was tempted in every way as we are, yet he did not sin; and he gives us strength to control our desires, and to walk in his way of love.  In obedience to your will your Son our Saviour offered himself and died on the cross for our redemption. Through him you have freed us from the slavery of sin and reconciled us to yourself. We thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine, and we pray that we who eat and drink them in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit may be partakers of his body and his blood. Renew us by your Holy Spirit, unite us in the body of your Son, and bring us with all your people into the joy of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



O God, you have sent your only Son into the world not to condemn, but to bring life in abundance. As we hear his call to gather at the Table today, and receive from his hands the bread blessed and broken, and drink together from the cup which he has blessed, send forth your Holy Spirit upon us, and upon these gifts, that in receiving we may experience anew that abundance, and give of it freely through lives lived faithfully in his presence.



  1. O God, you bring light out of darkness and hope where none can be found.  As we give you thanks for this bread, the light of hope expressed most completely in your Son Jesus Christ, we pray that you will give us grace to know him more fully, and in knowing him, more closely follow him as people of faith.


  1. Pour out your Spirit, we pray upon (this bread and) this cup, that we who partake of the gifts which you give may be awakened to live fully in your presence, as we look forward to the feast you have prepared for all who love you, in your kingdom which has no end.



  1. O Universal Love, we offer thanks and praise to you, even in the midst of darkness, for the light and hope of life eternal offered to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.  As we receive the gift of this broken bread, his Body offered for us and for all the world, may our hearts be open to the fullness of your salvation made known to us through his sacrifice for the sake of the world.


  1. Send down your Spirit, O God of Life, upon this cup, the new and eternal covenant of Christ’s blood, offered for the salvation of the world.  May we who receive it be blessed with a new awakening to the life eternal, which is ours through your gift of selfless love made known in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Conclusion:  Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’



Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service.  Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 


Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018.  Calendar for 2019

Sun 2 Dec 2018. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2018-19. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2018. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2018 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2018 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2018.


Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.


NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.  Send your comments or content here.


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